KEY POINTS

  • Florida woman pleads guilty to one count of disaster assisstance fraud
  • White made false statements and submitted false documents to FEMA
  • She faces up to 30 years in prison

A Florida woman was charged with one count of disaster assistance fraud on Friday.

39-year-old Deannajo White pleaded guilty in Jacksonville federal court to lying about the damage caused during Hurricane Irma.

According to Washington Times, court records show that White reportedly applied for disaster assistance benefits to the Federal Emergency Management last September 2017.

She claimed that she was forced to stay in nearby rental property due to a tree that fell on the roof of her Branford home during Hurricane Irma and it was later reported the White moved to a different rental property with a higher rent, adding receipts, leases and letters to her application.

Law enforcement officers said that White lied about her disaster assistance application in an August 2019 interview but later admitted to making false statements and presenting false documents to FEMA when confronted with the evidence that she lied.

White faces up to 30 years in prison, as well as paying restitution.

Hurricane Irma brought about almost $50 billion in damage when it hit Florida on September 2017.

hurricane-irma-2857982_1920 Too large of a percentage of homeowners do not have a disaster preparedness plan. A survey conducted showed that 80% of people do not have a home evacuation drill and an additional 60% were not aware of what their town’s evacuation route was. Photo: Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay